Park denies getting aid in election from NIS

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Park denies getting aid in election from NIS

President Park Geun-hye yesterday denied that her presidential campaign last year was aided by a National Intelligence Service online smear campaign against her opponent.

It was Park’s first response to opposition politicians’ challenges to the legitimacy of her election.

“Regarding the scandal, I don’t know why it happened or why they did it,” Park was quoted as saying yesterday by her senior public relations secretary, Lee Jung-hyun.

“During the presidential election, the NIS gave no help to me and I did not receive any help from the National Intelligence Service,” she continued, according to Lee.

The chairman of the opposition Democratic Party, Kim Han-gill, yesterday sent a letter to Park asking her to accept a National Assembly investigation into the case.

Earlier this month, a probe by the prosecution concluded that the agency conducted an online smear campaign against opposition candidate Moon Jae-in in the run-up to the Dec. 19 presidential election. The opposition party wants a separate investigation by the legislature but the ruling party refuses to cooperate.

In his letter, Kim said Park’s silence has worsened the situation and she must make a decision before she leaves for China on Thursday.

Park yesterday said she has remained tight-lipped to respect the opposition party’s demand she stay away from politics.

“The opposition party has consistently said the president must not meddle in National Assembly discussions,” Park was quoted as saying. “I, therefore, avoid involvement.”

While keeping her distance from the scandal, Park said, “It is necessary to lay bare the truth about the issues raised by the ruling and opposition parties involving the National Intelligence Service.” The legislature should discuss the matter and decide on the process, Park was quoted as saying.

It wasn’t clear if Park’s comments referred to a second controversy involving the National Intelligence Service.

In his letter, Kim criticized the ruling party for pushing for public access to records of President Roh Moo-hyun’s alleged disavowal of the western maritime border during a 2007 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

The NIS declassified those records yesterday.

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